What does “Karama” mean?

Karama (pronounced kuh-ra’muh) is a Swahili word meaning esteem, gracious gift, honor, importance, value, respect, and “something to share.” In Arabic, it means dignity.

What is a social enterprise?

Karama operates as a social enterprise, which means that we are a nonprofit organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human well-being, rather than maximizing profits for external shareholders. In a nutshell, our main goal is empowering people, not making money for ourselves.  

What is fair trade and how does Karama practice fair trade?

Fair trade refers to economic practices that pay fair wages to artisans working in developing countries. All too often, people in poor countries are victimized by global corporations and local governments who pay slave wages for inhumane work. The cycle of poverty continues. 

We consider an individual to be living in poverty if they cannot meet the basic needs for food, water, shelter, education, sanitation and health care.  Our participants are needy because they are unable to meet these basic needs and because they lack opportunity to change their circumstances.  Our experience is that those living in poverty don’t need handouts, they need opportunity.  They desire to earn a sustainable income and are willing to work and learn but the work is not available.  By providing access to global markets and teaching product design skills, Karama provides the opportunity to earn a sustainable income to these individuals living in poverty.

Who are the artisans Karama works with?

Karama is involved with organizations throughout Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Zanzibar that employ marginalized people, meaning those who are living in extreme poverty, have physical disabilities, are HIV-positive, are single parents, or have few opportunities in their areas. Karama employees and volunteers regularly visit the artisans at their workplaces and homes to ensure that they are being treated with dignity and to build relationships with the amazing people who make our products. 

Why do you focus on Africa?

Karama, Inc. was established in April, 2011 after a group of committed individuals traveled to Africa in March, 2011. Our co-founder, Dyan Larmey, had been living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the time and encouraged many of her friends to share her experiences and meet her artisan friends. Due to the overwhelming need, Karama’s current focus is in sub-Saharan Africa; of the poorest 40 countries in the world, 29 are in this region of the world.  Karama partners with local African businesses and individual African artisans, where we assist partners with product design, skills training and basic business practices.  

Where does the money go?

As a nonprofit, Karama reinvests our profits in artisans and products and donates a sizable amount of money each year to YoungLife Africa, a youth-empowerment organization that reaches out to young people and builds leadership skills while sharing the teachings of Jesus Christ. We are committed to ensuring our artisans are paid a living wage; therefore, the organizations and artisans, not Karama, decide payment for work and products. 

Where are you located?

Karama operates out of a storefront, warehouse, and main office in Evansville, Indiana. We also have a remote office in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Evansville Address:

6840 Logan Dr, Ste B

Evansville, IN  47715

812.457.9574

Boutique Hours:  Tues-Fri 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.